Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

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samtheman
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Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby samtheman » Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:26 pm

Hello everyone,

1. First of all I want to know if bad thoughts that are unacted upon create bad karma?

2. Sometimes impulsive thoughts come to my mind. Lately these have been disturbing me, because it makes me feel like a bad person. For example sometimes when someone does something successful, first thought that comes to me impulsively (I don't know where it comes from) is jealousy, then after that I understand it is a bad thing and I duly congratulate the person and really happy for him. But I still feel like a bad person, because impulsively the first thought that came was jealousy. Does this make me a bad person because I had jealous thoughts initially ?

3. These thought that come impulsively I don't know where they come from ? Are they mine or someone else's. Who is this person?

Thanks :)

meindzai
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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby meindzai » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:16 pm

samtheman wrote:Hello everyone,

1. First of all I want to know if bad thoughts that are unacted upon create bad karma?



Yes, but not nearly so bad or unskillful as when acted upon. And blaming yourself about having them just makes more unwholesome mental states.

2. Sometimes impulsive thoughts come to my mind. Lately these have been disturbing me, because it makes me feel like a bad person.


Well, it's good you're noticing. Fortunately, in Buddhism there's no such thing as a bad person. Only unwholesome and wholesome mind states.

For example sometimes when someone does something successful, first thought that comes to me impulsively (I don't know where it comes from) is jealousy, then after that I understand it is a bad thing and I duly congratulate the person and really happy for him. But I still feel like a bad person because impulsively the first thought that came was jealousy. Does this make me a bad person because I had jealous thoughts initially ?


Not only are you not a bad person, but you are engaging in right effort. There are in total four right efforts:

"And what, monks, is right effort? (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

That's you at number 2. It looks like you are noticing the thought, acknowledging it, and then letting it go. You also seem to be very aware of all this. That's great.

Of course there are other right efforts. If you want to counter jealousy, for example, you can practice mudita or sympathetic joy (the practice of delighting in other people's success). That's part of 3 and 4 above, and could help with 1.

3. These thought that come impulsively I don't know where they come from ? Are they mine or someone else's. Who is this person?

Thanks :)


Not you, just thought habits.

-Dave K

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Sam Vara
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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:23 pm

samtheman wrote:Hello everyone,

1. First of all I want to know if bad thoughts that are unacted upon create bad karma?

2. Sometimes impulsive thoughts come to my mind. Lately these have been disturbing me, because it makes me feel like a bad person. For example sometimes when someone does something successful, first thought that comes to me impulsively (I don't know where it comes from) is jealousy, then after that I understand it is a bad thing and I duly congratulate the person and really happy for him. But I still feel like a bad person, because impulsively the first thought that came was jealousy. Does this make me a bad person because I had jealous thoughts initially ?

3. These thought that come impulsively I don't know where they come from ? Are they mine or someone else's. Who is this person?

Thanks :)


1. I think that bad thoughts (if you mean those that are motivated by greed, hatred, or delusion) are a type of bad kamma. All thoughts are a type of activity, so even if they don't lead to overt speech or physical actions, they still count as kamma.

2. Impulsive thoughts come to most people's minds. They certainly don't mean you are a "bad person". They are just thoughts which are less skillful or helpful than others. The fact that you can recognise them as less skillful is actually quite helpful, as you can then decide what to do about them. Understanding that your initial thoughts of jealousy are not helpful is a sign of wisdom. So is feeling happy for the person once you have realised this. It is not skillful to beat yourself up just because you had the initial thoughts.

3. Well, you might think of the thoughts as "yours", but they don't really belong to you, do they? They don't do as you want, and are not under your control. You can choose to dwell on them or act on them, but you already know that is not such a skillful thing to do. They are not anybody's. They are just thoughts.

culaavuso
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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:33 pm

samtheman wrote:1. First of all I want to know if bad thoughts that are unacted upon create bad karma?


AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.


MN 61: Ambalaṭṭhikā­rāhulovāda Sutta wrote:While you are doing a mental action, you should reflect on it: 'This mental action I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful mental action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both... you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.


samtheman wrote:2. Sometimes impulsive thoughts come to my mind. Lately these have been disturbing me, because it makes me feel like a bad person. For example sometimes when someone does something successful, first thought that comes to me impulsively (I don't know where it comes from) is jealousy, then after that I understand it is a bad thing and I duly congratulate the person and really happy for him. But I still feel like a bad person, because impulsively the first thought that came was jealousy. Does this make me a bad person because I had jealous thoughts initially ?


MN 20: Vitakka­saṇṭhāna on the relaxation of thoughts may be helpful in these circumstances.

samtheman wrote:3. These thought that come impulsively I don't know where they come from ? Are they mine or someone else's. Who is this person?


SN 22.59: Pañcavaggiya Sutta wrote:"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'


MN 2: Sabbāsava Sutta wrote:This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'


MN 44: Cūḷavedalla Sutta wrote:"But, lady, how does self-identification come about?"

"There is the case, friend Visakha, where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identification comes about."

"But, lady, how does self-identification not come about?"

"There is the case where a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He does not assume feeling to be the self...

"He does not assume perception to be the self...

"He does not assume fabrications to be the self...

"He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identification does not come about."

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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby martinfrank » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:24 pm

Who is the person? Unhappily, as far as persons go, the person is you!

We don't know ourselves well. Only when things happen, do we see how we react.

Also on the unhappy side, yes, bad thoughts create bad karma.

On the happier side, we are not fixed persons but a constantly changing tangle of dhammas (mind things and matter things). And you can control them all!

If you are mindful, you'll catch the jealousy or hate or greed thoughts right when they appear and you can nip them in the bud. After some time, less and less of them will appear, which means you (your person) have changed. Also, you can train yourself to think loving thoughts, generous thoughts, compassionate thoughts which will slowly replace the bad thoughts.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.

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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby silver surfer » Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:25 pm

As meindzai said, there is no such thing as bad person. Only mental states that are conditioned, and so they arise.

Kamma means action - so without action, there will be no kammic effect. But as mental states are built on certain types of conditions, they will lead you to act on those states just as well. So bad/unwholesome thoughts will definitely cause some type of a behavior or an action, as will wholesome thoughts. But being aware of those bad thoughts, understanding them rightly, such as "these thoughts have arised in me", "these thoughts are present", you begin to be mindful of them. Being mindful of your on-going mental states will able you to control them.

So bad thoughts create bad kamma? If you are aware of them, and you act accordingly, no. I'd also like to add that, bad thoughts will be present unless you destroy them via effort/observance/meditation etc.

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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:36 pm

samtheman wrote:Hello everyone,

Hi
samtheman wrote:1. First of all I want to know if bad thoughts that are unacted upon create bad karma?

I would recommend to see actions, (by body, speech, mind) in terms of whether they are wholesome or unwholesome instead of considering them "bad" or "good".
When thoughts arise, one should reflect on them, are they wholesome, skillful, do they reduce suffering for me and for others, then one may continue with them or are they unwholesome, unskillful, do they lead to suffering for me and for others, then one should give them up. See culaavuso's post.
An unwholesome thought, recognized by one as unwholesome and given up, does not lead to unwholesome kamma.
An unwholesome thought, not recognized by one as unwholesome and continued upon that unwholesome thought will most probably lead to unskillful action (unwholesome kamma) by way of body, speech or mind, which will eventually bear unwholesome fruit.
samtheman wrote:2. Sometimes impulsive thoughts come to my mind. Lately these have been disturbing me, because it makes me feel like a bad person. For example sometimes when someone does something successful, first thought that comes to me impulsively (I don't know where it comes from) is jealousy, then after that I understand it is a bad thing and I duly congratulate the person and really happy for him. But I still feel like a bad person, because impulsively the first thought that came was jealousy. Does this make me a bad person because I had jealous thoughts initially ?

We are all practicing and not yet perfect, so be patient with yourself. It is wise, that you already notice your jealousy and react skillfully upon that phenomena when it arises. This is a good sign and you can be happy about how mindful you already are. Unwanted feelings may arise from time to time depending on our skilllevel. The more we attend appropriately to unskillful phenomena the more we will reduce the arising of them by acquiring wisdom. So to answer your question bluntly, no, you're not a bad person. In fact you are mindful and you try to act in a wholesome way. That is the way to go.
samtheman wrote:3. These thought that come impulsively I don't know where they come from ? Are they mine or someone else's. Who is this person?

Is it appropriate to consider upcoming thoughts as being me, this is mine, or this is my self? No, it isn't! Neither are they yours nor do they belong to someone else.
"Who is this person?" is an inappropriate question. It would be better to leave it aside and consider dependent origination. Phenomena arise due to a cause and with the cessation of that cause comes the cessation of that phenomena.

SN 12.2 wrote:From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

samtheman wrote:Thanks :)

You're welcome!

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

samtheman
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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby samtheman » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:03 pm

I read all the replies. They were all useful. Thanks :)

samtheman
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Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Postby samtheman » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:03 pm

Thank you all :)


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